Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990): S04E04 – Suddenly Human


Introduction

“Suddenly Human” is the 78th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the fourth episode of the fourth season.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, the Enterprise rescues a Starfleet admiral’s grandson, long thought dead, but who had been adopted and raised by the enemies who killed the boy’s parents.

Outline

The Enterprise responds to a distress call from a Talarian vessel. They rescue five teenaged members, four of whom are Talarian, and one human, Jono (Chad Allen).

Jono keeps to himself, but shows strict obedience to Captain Picard, which together with some unexplained past injuries leads Doctor Crusher to suggest Jono may have been physically abused. It is determined that Jono is Jeremiah Rossa, a long-lost Federation citizen. His grandmother is a Starfleet admiral, and he was orphaned ten years ago when his parents were killed in a skirmish with the Talarians.

When the Captain introduces the topic of Jono’s human family, Jono gets angry. After persistent effort by Picard, Jono’s memories of the attack begin to return and a friendship develops between Jono and Wesley Crusher.

A Talarian ship arrives, and its Captain, Endar, asks for a status on his son, Jono. Ten years ago, Endar claimed Jono after Jono’s parents were killed. This is part of the Talarian custom of adopting the children of slain enemies to replace their children who have died in battle. Endar explains Jono’s injuries as the products of a boy trying to impress his father by participating in high-risk activities; Picard seems satisfied and observes that Endar seems to care for Jono. Picard allows Endar to see Jono, but when Jono says he wants to stay with Endar, Picard suspects the boy is afraid to say he wants to stay in the Federation. Endar insists that Jono will come back with him, even if the result is war between the Talarians and the Federation.

Returning to his vessel, Endar calls for reinforcements, as Picard decides to try to convince Jono to stay. After Jono receives a message from his grandmother, Picard takes the boy to play a form of racquetball, where Jono breaks down and cries. The crew believes they are making progress with the boy, but that night, Jono stabs the Captain. The dagger is deflected by Picard’s sternum, and the wound is minor. The problem of where Jono should live is now compounded as Jono has committed a Federation crime.

When Picard learns that Jono feels he cannot betray Endar by befriending Picard, the Captain realises he has been trying to impose his wishes on the boy. Just as Endar’s patience is about to run out, Picard contacts the Talarians and lets them know he will let Jono go back. Jono bids Picard farewell with a Talarian ritual that is normally reserved for family members.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Gabrielle Beaumont.
  • Writer(s): Ralph Phillips.
  • Release Date: 15 October 1990.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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